While I was on tour in Cambodia, a lot of people were talking about Sihanoukville but with all possible kinds of disappointments, which made me really tense and sad. Whoever had come from the South and moving to the north would advise avoiding Sihanoukville. Reason being, ‘some massive- crazy construction going on there”! Which made me wonder, how bad a construction could be for people to suggest against the place which is supposed to treasure some beautiful beaches?! I love beach, and I was so much looking forward to this particular stop, to walk on the beach during sunset, swim during early morning, savouring some fresh fruit chillers, and to enjoy the sun, sand & slurp… SO not being so clear about this objection of others, or maybe I also wanted to know how bad a construction work could be.. I stuck to my plan and went ahead with Sihanoukville.
From Koh Kong to Sihanoukville it’s easy to commute, as direct buses are available. It took me 10.00 USD per ticket and as the hotel had arranged the transfer, they make sure guests are picked up from the hotel. (Note this: it’s good to get the bus tickets from the hotel directly if you haven’t made your bookings from your local agent)
If you are coming from Siem Reap/ Battambang– Then you have to come to Phnom Penh first (take a night bus maybe) and then take a connecting bus to Sihanoukville. From Phnom Penh, the bus ticket will cost more or less 10.00 USD per person.
Private cars are available, which may cost about USD 50.00 per car (say from Koh Kong to Sihanoukville)
While close to the Sihanoukville airport, I saw an ‘East City Sihanoukville’ signboard, and a bit ahead there was a new township construction going on, which seemed humungous. From there quite a lot of construction work was on sight, but that was just a glimpse. There are many towns, villages in the Sihanoukville province. Preah Sihanouk, Otres village are few of them. My destination was Otres Village, which seemed to be a small quiet beach village to enjoy peaceful nature until I reached there. My half an hour journey from the bus station to Otres proved what other tourists actually meant by ‘massive-crazy’ construction! The car was going through red mud road, actually, there wasn’t any road at all and there was dusty cloud all across the road. There were skeletons of concrete structure everywhere, the entire province was (even ‘is’ is prominent here) busy modernising themselves and in an immediate hurry.
There were sounds of drills digging the ground, hammers banging irons, thundering humming of machines and what not!! There was demolition everywhere (of course for future good) and if you ask my opinion, for next few years this place surely can’t be a dream holiday destination. After five years, yes it will be a different razzle-dazzle town altogether, which will be once again beyond our imagination, but at present let’s just say it’s an embryo.
Where to stay:
Considering the current situation, if you really want to visit Sihanoukville even for a night, make sure you stay anywhere but on an on-the-beach-property. Like You want to go to the beach, it should be just 10 steps away from your hotel lobby. Otherwise, it will very difficult to come along with the place. Trust me (though I didn’t in my case, but you can learn from my mistake) If you get a suitable property just on the beach then the construction work will not bother you ‘that’ much.
Again, with the current construction work going around the city, if it’s by the beach property you have selected, you can easily spend 2-3 nights where you don’t need to go out on the road (to remind you here, there is no road at the moment technically!). Otherwise, you won’t choose any more than just A night here. This explanation won’t exist about 4-5 years from now though!
That’s all for this post, there will be one more on #Sihanoukville, do come back next week.. Till next time!!